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How To No ‘Poo


Remember when I posted a couple weeks ago about adding baking soda to your shampoo to get rid of build-up? Well, I have taken things a step further into granola country. I have replaced my shampoo with baking soda and my conditioner with raw apple cider vinegar. And guess what? Its A-MA-ZING. My hair is softer, less tangled, and I’m going 5 DAYS between washes! (Yes, I still shower daily, I just don’t wash my hair.) I took a picture of my hair every day this week to prove it. Washed it on Saturday, and I washed it again today (Thursday). And enjoy the selfies… I hate posting them. But I wanted you to see that I’m serious that it works. And that my hair doesn’t look like a hippie.

How to No 'Poo - and go longer between washes

I used a bit of my DIY dry shampoo on days 3 and 4 to help with the kinks and separation around my face. And I know, hello dark roots!

My Hair Story:

I have been gradually increasing the time between washes for almost a year now (while still using commercial shampoo/conditioner). I had been a faithful every-day washer since I was a teen, but last fall I started washing every other day, then every third, and then every 4th. I used my DIY dry shampoo to help me get through the greasy days.

Recently I started adding baking soda to my shampoo , and then I started adding vinegar to my conditioner. And I liked it! My hair was easier to comb and dried faster, felt smoother, and was less greasy (I only used spray shampoo once in the 5 days between washes). Last week, I completely omitted conditioner and used just raw apple cider vinegar (ACV). The result was amazing. Soft, easy to comb through (which is a big deal for me, my hair is usually SO tangle-y), feels clean and no, it doesn’t smell like vinegar.  The smell pretty much disappears when you blow dry it, and is completely gone after a few hours.

Today I washed/rinsed with JUST baking soda and vinegar. I think I need to increase the baking soda, but overall, not bad!

I hesitate to set myself as too much of an authority, because I’m so new to the club. But I am so happy with the results, I just have to share! I’ll put some links at the bottom for more reading from the pros. There is lots of info about “no poo” (no shampoo) methods and tips.

Why do people “No Poo”?

The basic theory is that commercial shampoos and conditioners strip your hair of its healthy/natural oils, and then coat the hair with synthetic chemicals. This strip/coat cycle creates all kinds of scalp issues because the scalp works overtime to replace the stripped oils, making the hair feel dirty, and requiring shampooing more often. A vicious cycle. The coating from conditioner actually makes it harder for moisture to penetrate the hair, leaving your hair even more damaged. (wikipedia – no poo)

There are LOTS of variations on the methods and theories, and since there are so many different types of hair, what works for one person may not work for another. A lot of it is trial and error.

The most popular No ‘Poo is using baking soda/vinegar because they pH balance each other.

Another consideration is the “transition period” when you start washing less and/or stop using commercial shampoos and conditioners. The scalp has to adjust to not needing to produce as much oil, but until it does, it kinda sucks.  My friend, Traci, did this cold turkey and can attest to the transition period.  But she powered through, and now she is a few months into it and loves it. My friend Andrea reported the same experience. Since I did it so gradually, I didn’t notice much of a transition at all.

But again, please remember I’m new at this! I am sharing whats working for me because people keep asking me about it, but you might need to tweak things a bit for your own hair.

And since nobody wants to see step by step pics of me doing this in the shower, I’m just going to have to describe it as best I can.

How to No 'Poo

How to No ‘Poo:

1 – Get 2 squirt bottles (mine are from Sally Beauty) and fill one with:

  • 1 Tbsp of baking soda
  • 1 cup of water

This is the “wash” to replace the shampoo.  I also add a few drops of melaleuca essential oil to the wash to keep my scalp happy.

In the other bottle, put:

  • 1 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup of water

This is the “rinse” to replace the conditioner.  The baking soda and vinegar amounts can be slightly increased or decreased, depending on your hair type. It takes some trial and error. I think I’m going to increase the baking soda for my hair, because its so thick and tends to be greasy. But the measurements I gave are a good starting point.

2 – Brush your hair out really well before you get in the shower, making sure to gently scratch your scalp.

3 – In the shower, squirt a couple ounces of the wash directly on your scalp.  I try to focus on areas that are usually greasy for me, my hairline, part and the back of my head. I avoid the length of my hair. My understanding is that it can be really drying on the length.  Then rinse it out really well (I used to let it sit for a few minutes, but now my hair is pretty clean and doesn’t need the BS to remove that much junk). It will feel pretty dry at this point.

4 – Then take the “rinse” and drizzle it on the length of your hair. Its awkward at first, but I just drizzle it around as best I can. I hang my hair over to the side and pour a little on the underneath, and a little on the outside, then repeat on the other side.  Then pour some on the back side.  I try to avoid the scalp because I’ve heard that it can make it too heavy. I use a couple of ounces.

5 – I do let the ACV sit on my hair for the rest of my shower, and then rinse it well before I get out.

How to Ease into No ‘Poo:

You don’t have to go cold turkey No ‘Poo. Let’s say you’re an every day regular shampoo/conditioner type of person. If you go suddenly switch to the baking soda/vinegar rinse every 3-4 days, you’re going to hate life. Your hair will be in freak out mode, because its used to being washed all the time. Your scalp will be on oil-producing overdrive! Yuck.

So make a plan (I love plans). Start slowly. Start by shampooing/conditioning every other day, and adding in the baking soda/vinegar on top of your regular shamp/cond. Use spray shampoo to help with the greasies on the second day. Gradually increase the amount of baking soda/vinegar, while decreasing the shampoo/conditioner. Then after a week or so, try going to washing every third day. And again, increase the baking soda/vinegar. Until you’re able to stop using your shamp/cond completely.

Whew! That’s a lot of No ‘Poo info!! If you still want to read MORE about No Poo, here are some links:

Crunchy Betty – No ‘Poo to You Too!!!
Almost Exactly – No ‘Poo Resource

Soooo….. Are you going to do it?!?

I’ve written an update on my No Poo situation that you can also check out.

Make Your Own Beautiful Living Succulent Wreath Centerpiece! Complete video course by Jeannine Romero now available through Skillshare.

Razzle Dazzle Quilter

Wednesday 10th of June 2015

I have been only Baking soda to wash my hair for 4 years. I love it! My hair feels instantly super clean. I also love that I have saved $$$$$$$$$ by not buying shampoo!

Rachel Martinez

Saturday 8th of November 2014

I've started doing no poo this week. I've wash with B'S and ACV every other day and plan to cut down. I have thin and curly hair and what I've noticed so far is that my hair isn't as dry in the top layer as usual but it feels dirty. Is this going to resolve or do I need to change something? Any suggestions?


Friday 29th of August 2014

I tried the ACV to see if it would put an end to my frizzies because I was assured it would. It did absolutely nothing at all. My hair is on the dry side and I only need to wash it every 4-5 days. If anyone knows how to get rid of frizzies, please tell me. I am about to pay $400 to have a Keratin Treatment at the hairdressers which they say will get rid of them for about 4 months.


Wednesday 23rd of July 2014

Has anyone tried this with curly hair?

Heat and Rock

Monday 9th of March 2015

Yes! My hair is curly/wavy and this made my hair so soft and bouncy. I cannot sing the praises of 'no poo' enough!


Saturday 3rd of May 2014

I've tried baking soda and acv a few times and love how it feels after the first wash, but always go back to shampoo and conditioner b/c after about a week, my hair always feels filmy...not oily, but like there's product in it. Anyone know what I might be doing wrong?

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